FYROM talks this week

Diplomats from Athens and Skopje will meet in New York by the end of this week for a final round of talks aimed at settling the Macedonia name dispute, sources said yesterday. The representatives of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Adamantios Vassilakis and Nikola Dimitrov respectively, had not heard from United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz by late yesterday, despite the envoy’s original intention to meet with them in New York tomorrow. But the meeting will almost certainly be held over the next few days, the sources said. At the meeting, the two diplomats will be asked to submit their assessments of Nimetz’s latest proposal: a choice from five composite names for FYROM. The envoy is expected to subsequently make a new – and final – proposal, once he has evaluated the assessments of both sides. The stances of Athens and Skopje are believed to be diametrically opposed. Of the five proposed composite names, Athens favors Republic of Upper Macedonia as it clearly distinguishes FYROM geographically from the Greek region of Macedonia. Another of Nimetz’s proposals – New Republic of Macedonia – may also be debatable if it were modified to Republic of New Macedonia. But Skopje has excluded these suggestions, preferring Independent Republic of Macedonia and adding a proposal of its own: People’s Republic of Macedonia. The two sides disagree on additional details. Athens wants the composite name chosen to be printed on FYROM citizens’ passports – an idea that Skopje is not at all keen on. There is also discord about whether the new name will be mentioned in FYROM’s constitution and where it will be used. (Greece wants it to be used in all international organizations, while FYROM wants to limit its use as much as possible.) As Greek politicians brace for talks to resolve the 15-year dispute with as little compromise as possible, citizens delivered their own verdict on the matter in the results of an opinion poll by Metron Analysis made public yesterday. According to the poll, 80 percent want the Greek government to veto FYROM’s accession to NATO if the name issue is not satisfactorily resolved. Meanwhile, 67 percent object to any compromise that includes the term Macedonia. Still 75 percent believe that a composite name could constitute a possible solution.